Now that I have your attention with the bath mat above...
Well, I seem to be really hitting my stride at one blog post every three months. Quarterly seems frequent enough to keep up with my life, right? Anything more would just be too much Andrew? Thought so.
As the title implies, I haven't been sitting around and resting on my laurels for the past few months. Here's some cool things I've done and a short description of them for you:
I was a werewolf and an employee of McDonald's... at the same time.
I booked my first job with my agency! This is big news, because my agents make money when I make money, and since we all like making money, making them money increases the prospects of me making money. Clear? Good.
I got booked in a McDonald's industrial (to those outside the biz - that means an internal company video, worldwide training videos in this case). I got to play a few different roles - customer, manager of a French McDonald's, and as you can see above... a werewolf. It was a super fun gig, my first time using prosthetics in a long time, and a great cast and crew to work with. So glad that I was able to get this through the Brogan Agency and get my first big LA gig under my belt!
The crew was joking that the character was such a success (we had a lot of fun shooting - people ran from me in fear, I got to howl while working the fryer - McDonald's really has a lot of opportunities for fictitious monsters) that they wanted to pitch it to McDonald's for an ad campaign. If any McDonald's advertising executives happen to be reading this... my schedule is open, that's all I'm saying.
I've been auditioning.
Both through my agents and through things I submit for myself, I've been getting out to pursue my dream! Nothing huge yet - that comes later on. But as you can see above, I did audition for a show produced by the television arm of the world's foremost gentleman's magazine - which I didn't get. But still a cool experience to actually go to the Playboy offices, and I got to meet a couple of cool people who I hope to keep in touch with in the waiting room. Never know who you're going to run into, or what turns into an opportunity for networking.
Why haven't you seen me on TV or movies yet, you ask? Well, that's where you start digging into the business of acting and why it may be better to wait for some things and get your name out there first. WARNING: A DULL PARAGRAPH FULL OF THE MINUTIAE OF BEING AN ACTOR FOLLOWS. As you may or may not know, there's a big union for actors called the Screen Actors Guild, or SAG. If you're working on a TV show, especially a recognizable one, that's going to be a job that falls under the jurisdiction of SAG. To join SAG, there are a few different routes - you can get a certain number of roles with lines on SAG projects, then ask for a voucher and be eligible to join with a certain number of those (I forget what it is exactly). I got mine by producing and acting in a web series a several years ago that had a SAG actress in it.
After you get your eligibility to join SAG, you have one month to continue doing as many SAG projects (aka "union projects") as you want. After that month, you can do two more union projects, and then you are compelled to join SAG. Joining means spending $3,000 and never doing non-union jobs again (unless you're something called FiCore, but that's a whole other beast). Since I don't have a lot of work in LA under my belt yet, it would behoove me to do more non-union jobs before joining SAG and losing access to those gigs. Make sense? There's one more wrinkle to explain why you haven't seen my mug more prominently on the tube nor the silver screen yet.
SAG is currently in a bind with a lot of commercials. The way the issue has been described to me is that large companies who can afford SAG actors tried out the non-union talent pool, and didn't find a huge difference in talent (keep in mind this is for commercials, which is generally a lot of smiling and holding products at the right angle). So they figured, to save some money, why not go with non-union actors for commercials and pay them a couple thousand dollars for the shoot and to buy out their footage instead of paying SAG actors tens of thousands of dollars in residuals over the life of the ad? Makes sense from a fiscal standpoint, but a lot of SAG actors rely on commercials to get by since they're so lucrative. SAG is trying to remedy this now by bringing a lot of commercials back under their purview, but it's a legal battle and could be drawn out for years.
All of this is background to say - I'm a good fit for commercial acting right now. I'm not in the union and me and my agency can rack up the dollars by submitting for non-union commercials. If they were to submit me for a TV show, yeah it would be cool that my family and friends could see me have a line on The Goldbergs or something, but I would be pushed into joining the union and not having access to these commercials. So sit tight friends - this is a long-haul thing, and unless someone discovers me on the street in Hollywood and gives me a starring role in their passion project, you'll probably see me on local TV ads for the time being.
Ok, thorough explanation achieved. Now on to more fun stuff!
I've been doing the Hollywood thing.
I was lucky enough to go to my first Hollywood premiere! A friend scored an invite to an event that Australians in Film put on, which was the premiere of Dance Academy: The Comeback. Being your typical ignorant American, I had no idea that this was an immensely popular show in Australia about a young girl from the country who moves to Sydney to achieve her dream of becoming a ballerina in the National Ballet Company. I was able to piece together the history of the show from the plot of the movie, and it was exciting to meet the cast, director, and a couple of producers afterward. Everyone was super nice, and it was great to meet all sorts of people from different walks of life (albeit mostly Australian walks of life) and even got to hand my card out to a few people.
I have a bit of advice and an anecdote (of course, when don't I have an anecdote) when it comes to networking in Hollywood. So much in this industry is predicated on who you know and the type of connection you have with them, and so many people zero straight in on the people who can help them most. To me, this feels slimy. I got into this business because I love creating things and bringing stories to life with passionate people, not to blow smoke up someone's a** because they could put me in a big budget production and I wouldn't have to fret over the cost of bottomless mimosas on Sundays for the next few years. I was able to meet the director of Dance Academy, and I told him that I loved the movie (the caption above isn't a lie; I tried to teach myself breakdancing for at least a year after You Got Served came out). He replied, "you know you and I aren't exactly the target demographic for this movie," but I had picked out a few things about the movie that I really did enjoy - the plot of someone having to shift their dream because it wasn't working out, and finding happiness on a different facet of that dream; and that I really loved some of the cinematography. I told him I thought it was beautifully shot, and that they captured some really cool synergy between the choreography of the dance and the natural beauty of the spaces they shot in. His eyes lit up at this, and he told me about the cinematography and color palette of another movie he had premiered that he was really proud of, and I could tell it was something he was passionate about. We chatted about it for a while, and he even told me to pirate that other movie because it was Australian and tough to get in the states. It's these little things, connecting with people on an artful level, that make me want to make my name here.
Anyway, I don't want to get too preachy. Talk to people however you want. One other Hollywood encounter that I'll relate - I was in the cafe at Upright Citizens Brigade, where I'm chugging through classes... and practices... and shows... and jams... because I f'ing love it, and I saw someone come out of a private event in the room next door who looked familiar. Mainly because she's pretty popular actor and musical comedian Kate Micucci, but also because I was in a movie with her that shot in San Francisco a couple of years ago. I had one line that ended up on the cutting room floor, but I did have my own trailer that was right next to hers, and on the first day of filming I was waiting around while she came back from lunch to brush her teeth. We got to talking and she said that I should totally move to LA to be an actor. It was such a starstruck moment for me, and when I saw her in the cafe at UCB, I uttered, "...Kate?" She turned and asked if we knew each other, and after I told her that I was on the set of Unleashed, she remembered it all! She was super sweet and took a photo with me to send to the director of the movie, who's also a Bay Area guy. It was such a cool little moment, and one of those experiences that reaffirmed my choice to move down here, which has definitely seemed insane at times.
Last but not least, my place has been cemented as luckiest guy on earth.
Long distance relationships ain't easy - I've run the gamut from San Jose to SF and Santa Cruz to San Diego, but this LA to SF one has been the easiest. I'm incredibly lucky to be with someone who is so supportive of my dream and has so much faith in me. I've gotten to see Emy just about as much as we said we would - I went up for Valentine's day and we got to spend the whole weekend together; she came down to whisk me away to San Diego for a music festival last weekend. It's not without it's trials, but this relationship has been rock solid and I'm so thankful that I have her to rely on. She takes care of me when she comes down (like making three lasagnas and freezing two so I'd have food until she visited next) and teaches me how to live on a shoestring budget so that I can make this dream happen. She makes me laugh, she picks me up when I'm down, and she has the utmost of trust in me. I wouldn't have been able to do any of this stuff without her.
I know you're reading this boo ;* Thank you for everything. And also for my family - my mom and dad have been so supportive, and they cheer me on every time I have a victory, no matter how small.
Well, it seems like someone's cutting onions around here and I have to go wipe my eyes. Thanks for sticking with this blog post until the end (or maybe you just skimmed it - that's ok too), and I'll try to update you guys more often. Appreciate all of you!